The Adventures of Cindy Li
Font Embedding and Licensing
May 13 , 2009 11 comments
Once upon a time…
I decided to redesign my portfolio site. Matt and I discussed the benefits of using SIFR vs having .jpgs for my sub headers. As the sub headers are likely to change, using .jpgs wasn’t the best option. So we started looking into SIFR and Cufón. I would love to use the fonts that print designers and large corporations can afford but most of my clients these days are watching their budgets and so am I.Dare I say fiscially responsible designer? ;) Anyway.. I started researching the cost of what it would be for me to use the beautiful font I found. This isn’t a new problem, Hello 2007, cue Richard Rutter’s blog post on WebKit now supports CSS @font-face rules.
House Industries’ policy on font embeding
So I wanted to use the lovely font created by House Industries but I looked into their licensing and the font I found cost: $140 from House Industries, unfortunately to use it on my site its going to cost me an additional $1500 because their licensing doesn’t allow embeding.If I wanted to create each art with the text that’s not a problem, I prefer using SIFR because it is better for accessibility. If I won the lottery I wouldn’t blink at the high price tag but unfortunately it is not within my abilities for my personal site, well maybe if I was a fortune 500 company. If I wanted to use the @font-face in my CSS3 then it isn’t even an option unless I theoretically bought a license for every visitor on my site? Gulp…so at the moment we’re limited to the fonts we can use at the moment (some good and some bad… I want more fonts to use please!)
House Industries’ policy on font embedding,
“Why don’t you allow embedding in your license?
A: We make embedding decisions on a case by case basis. For example, we will allow you to embed the fonts to send a .pdf to a printer or to a client for approval. However, if you want to do an email distribution .pdf newsletter, you must pay an additional embedding fee.”
“Q: Do you allow embedding in Flash?
A: We make this call on a case by case basis. Generally, we allow embedding if the text is static, but we charge a flat embedding fee that is outlined on our pricing page.”
So I went to the pricing page…
“Web Embedding Fees
Web embedding for generating read-only dynamic text (examples: Flash or CSS): $1500 per font or $7500 per collection.”
Um.. excuse me? $1500.. that’s a Macbook.I totally understand charging for what you design. As a designer I agree with that point of view. But with most clients they are watching their budgets and would drop their jaw on the floor if I asked them to pay $7500 for a font.
So a favorite font due to President Obama’s campiagn is Gotham.It’s owned by typography.com
Their EULA (End User License Agreement) use states, “3.1. Embedding. “Embedded Documents” are those which contain a copy of the Typefaces, or data describing the shape or outline of any part of the Typefaces. Embedded Document formats include, but are not limited to: Acrobat (or other) files employing the Portable Document Format (“PDF”); Cascading Style Sheets (“CSS”) employing the “@font-face” tag; Macromedia Flash (or other) files employing TrueDoc; and documents employing Web Embedding Font Technology (“WEFT”). You may not create Embedded Documents, except as expressly provided in paragraphs 3.2 and 3.3:”
So if a client came to me and wanted to use any font from Tyography.com I’d recommend it based on them not limiting their usage. Freedom, interesting thought isn’t it?
Veer’s policy is dependent on which font you buy. You have to read the EULA there and decide. A ton of research after finding the font you want. Don’t you think? I looked up one font, a “G-Type” and got this EULA.
This is what is listed on their grant license,
“GRANT OF LICENSE
In return for the license fee paid Fontworks UK Ltd (‘Fontworks’) and/or its supplier grants you a non-exclusive license to use this font or font package (‘the Software’) on or for use by a maximum of 5 CPU’s (workstations), whether networked or not, connected to one output device (printer) at one location. Alternatively use may be on a single portable computer and associated printer. A copy of the Software should always be made for purely back-up purposes. If the font is required for use on machines in excess of the above numbers this can be achieved via simple multiplication, i.e. by purchasing further licenses from this site, or more economically (as volume discounts are included) by applying to Fontworks for an appropriate Multi-User, Site, Country or World Wide License. You can apply by e-mail, fax, post, ’phone etc.”
So you need to negotiate the usage of let’s say SIFR. Hmm.. that’s going to be a pain.Another email when that information should be updated on their site already.
A request to the people who are writing up the EULA’s
Can you please update your licenses to something designers and small businesses can afford? I’m not asking for free. I’m asking for reasonable and license agreements that don’t require us to ask if we can use it on our sites by contacting your company. Or I guess I’ll keep using Arial or Helvetica on my site until someone stops this outdated hamster wheel.